Smoked roasted pigs' cheeks with pickled cabbage and thyme and mead jelly


For the thyme and mead jelly
For the pigs' cheeks and pickled cabbage

Preparation method

  1. For the thyme and mead jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, or until softened, then squeeze dry.

  2. Heat the chicken stock in a pan over a medium heat until warmed through.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the mead, wine and gelatine leaves. Stir well until the gelatine leaves have dissolved, then stir in the chopped thyme.

  4. Pour the jelly mixture into a large flat-bottomed dish, so that it settles to a 1cm/½in depth. Set aside until completely cool, then chill in the fridge for at least one hour, or until set.

  5. Meanwhile, for the pigs' cheeks and pickled cabbage, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  6. Place the pigs' cheeks onto a baking tray and cook in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until golden-brown.

  7. Meanwhile, bring the celery seeds, allspice, sugar, vinegar and water to the boil in a large, non-reactive saucepan. Add the shredded cabbage and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Continue to boil for 10-15 minutes, or until softened.

  8. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside to infuse until ready to serve.

  9. Just before serving, line the bottom of a roasting tray with silicone baking paper, then arrange the pancetta slices on it. Cover the pancetta slices with a baking tray, then transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through and crisp.

  10. When the thyme and mead jelly has set, cut it into 1cm/½in cubes.

  11. Drain the liquid from the pickled cabbage.

  12. To serve, divide the pickled cabbage equally among four serving plates. Carve the pigs' cheeks into slices and place them on top of the cabbage. Arrange the cubes of thyme and mead jelly around the edge of the plate. Garnish each serving with two slices of crisp pancetta.

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